What happens when you swing a sledgehammer at a car on college game day?

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Well I’ll tell you. In just a bit. But first….

When you yell “O-H!” at the top of your lungs like a screaming banshee in the horseshoe, the home of the Buckeyes, guess what happens? Everybody around you, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity, screams right back at you “I-O!” The pilot on the airplane did it. An 8-year-old did it. A 70-year-old lady did it. It’s infectious. And I caught it as I watched the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Penn State Nittney Lions during Dark Night in the Shoe last Saturday night. It was a blackout event, which was a publicity stunt, but it did look pretty cool to see the sea of fans decked out in their dark colors supporting the team. Usually the stadium is awash in scarlet and gray. But not Saturday night. I donned my black and fit right in.

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     I’m a Terp, but I attended this game with two Buckeyes – my husband Damian and my cousin Megan – and my cousin’s SO, Mick. I married into the Buckeye crazy, but I’ve earned my stripes as a Buckeye fan, as I’ve watched almost every football game for more than a decade. My three companions and I made a weekend out the event. Starting with an 8 AM flight on Friday morning, even though the game itself didn’t happen until 8 PM on Saturday night. Go big or go home, people! Or, if you’re Megan & Mick, make every effort to miss the plane. Those two rolled into the airport at 7:15 for our 8 AM flight and squeaked onto the flight at the last minute. I give them props for cutting it close and making it, though, because that’s how they roll. Unlike Damian and myself – super nerds who were in line at security by 6:30 AM and strolling around with our bagels by 7, periodically checking our pocket protectors to make sure our pens weren’t leaking.
     Given that we got to Columbus eons before game time, we had a full day Friday to enjoy the area, and we spent the time well. We began with some fabulous coffee from a French bakery followed by a wonderful lunch at a small quaint restaurant called The Whitney House. We were the first to arrive – literally every table was empty – and the host asked us with a deadly serious face if we had a reservation. I almost asked him to repeat the question. Then I considered telling him that we would each like our own individual table, because we do like to spread out, and clearly they had enough open tables to accommodate us. I need my space! But I wisely kept it zipped, although I’m pretty sure my eyebrow shot up of its own accord, and we were seated without further ado in a lovely window table. The food was great and very reasonable. We enjoyed various salads, burgers, and crispy french fries while we chatted and looked around at the adorable decor.
     From there we hit Wolf Ridge Craft Brewery, and that was a blast! The tap room sports rustic decor, with beautiful woodwork and hanging light bulbs from the ceiling (hey Megan – spell “ceiling”). We tried some beer flights, and all the flavors were intricate, the pours were nice, and overall it was a really fun experience.
Wolf Ridge
     Nap time!
     Friday night we went to J. Alexander’s, mostly because it was right next to our hotel, but also because it sports good reviews. We loved it. We started with double appetizers, because, like Corey used to say when he was little, “Be at vacation!” That’s right, son! When on vacation, just eat it, drink it, swing a sledgehammer at it – whatever. Just do it. More on that sledgehammer thing later. We ate deviled eggs and roasted artichokes, which were delicious. Damian and I split two entrees – a tender filet cooked to perfection with a side of rich Bearnaise and scallops over lemony orzo made for the perfect pairing. The house special wine was a red blend for $28, but it tasted like a much more expensive bottle of wine. Everyone shared a bite of their dessert with me at the end, so really, I win! Key lime pie, not too sweet, chocolate cake, beautifully moist, sundae with multiple toppings and a glass of port. My companions had to roll me back to the hotel.
     Saturday it was on! Game day, baby! And game day on campus is no joke. It’s all football all the time. We hit the fraternity and sorority houses to see Megan’s old stomping grounds at Kappa Delta – what a beautiful house they have! Here’s a shot of Megan and me outside her house:
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     From there we met some Delta Chi Fraternity members who were ratcheting up the pre-game wildness, but for a good cause – cancer. A donated car – I’m not sure this thing ever ran it was such a hunk of junk – painted in Penn State colors was being offered up for whacks with a sledgehammer. For $5 a swing, you too can get your cave man on. Mick took a video of one the boys standing on the car swinging at it, asking the kid, “Hey, my friend Jim is a Penn State fan. Tell Jim what you think of Penn State.” In the same voice that Leonard McCoy said, “He’s dead, Jim,” on Star Trek, this kid picked up the sledgehammer, raised it over his head, and said, “Penn State sucks, Jim.” And then he let the car have it. I laughed hard enough to send myself into a coughing fit, and now Damian and I will just randomly look at each other and say, “Penn State sucks, Jim.” We’re very mature. Very.
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     We walked around campus some more, shopped, and then hit Eddie George’s where we saw the man himself! And, we got a photo with him! I think Damian can die happy now.
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     That experience was definitely a major party flavor – we waited in the bar for an hour for a table for lunch, despite the fact that there were literally at least 5 empty tables. But during that time we watched some football, some people, and even experienced a troop of marines that blew by in just shorts and backpacks despite the 40-degree weather. Yes, they are bigger badasses than we are. No question. And they were sporting a blowup doll on a stick. This was a stunt to raise awareness for suicide prevention. What a giant used-looking blowup doll has to do with suicide prevention is beyond me, but you know, I’d say the stunt was effective, because it got the attention of everybody in the bar. I’m trying to figure out how I can work a blowup doll into my next attempt to raise awareness for CHD. I’m taking ideas if anybody has one.
     We (finally!) ate, it was great, and then we cleaned up and got ready for the main event. But first we had to party like we were students tailgating by hitting the Varsity Club. I couldn’t get the name right and called it the Victory Garden all weekend. So we bussed our way onto campus and then smashed ourselves between the walls of people at the Victory Garden (my name is better!), where we saw some shenanigans, probably the funniest of which was a woman in her 50s dancing with a college kid to “Back that Thang Up.” And I’m here to tell you, she backed it up. I hope I’m having half that much fun in my next decade.
     After a brat on the street we smashed our way into the stadium, found our killer seats (thank you Mick!) on the club level in the end zone, and made it just in time for kick off. The atmosphere in the shoe was electric. Energy pulsating through the stands that you could feel, sound slamming through the chairs loud enough to vibrate your buns – if you were sitting down, like me – it’s a high octane experience, to be sure. I love watching the game on tv, but you just can’t feel the crowd unless you’re there.
     It was butt cold, though. High 30s, low 40s, hat/gloves/boots/3-pairs-of-socks cold. Except for those marines, because, you know, clothes are just overrated. I think my nose got frostbite. The game started out as a nail biter, because Penn State looked good in the beginning. Like the rest of the season this year, the Buckeyes just don’t have their stuff together in the first half. Magic apparently happens in the locker room at half time – possibly a result of head coach Urban Meyer whipping them into shape, I don’t know – because the team invariably looks better in the second half. And this game was no exception. Penn State kept it interesting, despite the fact that they suck, Jim, but in the end the Buckeyes pulled out a sweet victory at 38 to 10.
     The bus ride home took an agonizing hour. Gah. Enough about that.
     The next morning Damian and I rose at 7:30, checked out at 8, and had our first Uber experience driving to the airport where we picked up our rental car for the (long, long) drive back to Maryland. Megan and Mick chose a 9 PM flight, because it was the only flight that wasn’t outrageously expensive, but that was too late for us on a school night with the boys. Unfortunately, Enterprise didn’t open until 9 AM, even though the location was an airport, so we had to wait around for a bit. Then their printer didn’t work. More waiting. Luckily our guy opted for plan B, wrote our information in, and handed us the keys to a Dodge Charger that might have been on the road in the 1980s. This thing was ready to hit the junkyard. The climate control was busted, and we alternated between arctic freeze and hatching baby chickens. This was extra fun in the mountains of West Virginia where it was snowing. In October. Let me say that again. It was snowing in October! Can you feel the flakes hitting the windshield? And my face, since I had to leave the window open to avoid passing out from the blast-furnace heat.
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     We eventually found a tiny mom & pop restaurant in the middle of nowhere on the edge of PA and WV which was FABULOUS. Dr. McCarthy’s Kitchen – it’s an old house, converted to a restaurant, and there was only one option on the menu – the brunch buffet. But it rocked. For $20, you got all-you-can-eat buffet, which included such fine items as salmon and pulled pork, in addition to roasted pumpkin soup, fruit, coffee and juices, and made-to-order omelets and pancakes. I had an egg white omelet stuffed with mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and onions, and Damian had a crispy chocolate chip pancake with butter and syrup. Our table sat on aged wood floors beside an old rustic stone fireplace. I wish we lived closer so that we could go again.
     We made it home by 5 after one fabulous trip! Cheers to Megan and Mick for making it one fantastic weekend of fun.
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By customs, I don’t mean that it’s customary to say “thank you” when some one gives you a gift. Although if you don’t, then you’re kind of a jerk. I’m talking about the customs agents at the border of a country who inspect your passport, ask you questions, and decide whether or not they’re going to let you enter their country. I have a few friends who are serious world travelers, and they could speak to this subject with much more knowledge than I can, but I can talk about what it’s like to go through customs in 6 different countries, so I figured, why not?Let’s start with a simple question: how do customs agents in the USA compare to customs agents in other countries? The answer: we’re total prigs. Getting back in to this country, as a US CITIZEN, is a pain in the butt. Every US customs agent I’ve ever met has grilled me before letting me come home. Coming back from Canada was the most ridiculous example of this. My husband and I drove across the Canadian border to see Niagra Falls. We drove back the same day. The US customs agent asked us at least 20 questions – including “How do you know this guy?” – “Uh, he’s my husband?” – before he finally waived us through the checkpoint. I started wondering if somebody had hidden a body or some drugs in our car – the way we were being questioned, I thought for sure he was going to search us and find a dead guy in the trunk. The agent was the definition of by-the-book, and it was a tense situation.

The Canadians, on the other hand, didn’t stamp our passports (damn! no proof I was ever there!) or ask us anything other than, “Here to see The Falls? Coming back today? Have a nice time.” So my advice is this: go ahead and drive that dead body into Canada, but for Pete’s sake, don’t drive it back into the US. I don’t have any other advice on body disposal, though – sorry.

The Germans scared the crap out of me. I flew into Stuttgart, just me, alone, and they asked me about a thousand questions. I guess American girls in their twenties don’t travel alone to Stuttgart. So the German customs agent looked at my passport, looked at me, looked back at my passport – back at me. Me. Passport. Me. Passport. This went on for what felt like hours. No smiling, no talking, no nothing. I just stood there and tried not to twitch too much. Here’s how the conversation went after that:

German Customs Agent: “Why are you visiting our country?”

Me, “Uh, I’m visiting a friend.”

GCA: “What friend?”

Me, “A friend who lives here. She used to work with me.”

GCA: “How long have you known this friend?”

Me, “Uh, several years?”

And on and on and on. What is this friend’s name? Where will you be staying? When will you be leaving? What kind of food are you going to eat while you’re here? Okay, so he didn’t ask that last one, but man, I thought at one point, this guy could really give the Gestapo a run for their money! I wanted to yell, “Look! I am not a sketchy character. I even have a German last name!” Which I did at the time. Finally, he let me in. I’ve never been questioned that extensively since, but the US customs guys definitely come in at a close second.

What about the French? Ah, the French. Viva la France! I was fully prepared to answer all sorts of questions about my reason for visiting, length of my stay, etc. They didn’t ask me one question. They didn’t even look at my face as they stamped my passport and waived me past. It was great! I’d go back just for that reason alone.

And the Swiss? They just wanted money. “It’s 40 Swiss Francs to drive onto our highways. Pay up. No I don’t want to see your passport.” We just bought our way in, and that was that. Again, no stamp on the passport though. Rats!

In Mexico they were super friendly. They just smiled, asked us a few questions, and welcomed us into their country. Come! Spend your money here! So happy to have you! Free lobster dinner if you listen to a time share sales pitch.

But every time I leave the US, I come back. Which means more US customs agents. And they just don’t mess around. I haven’t even tried coming from somewhere that’s actually dangerous – I mean, we’re talking about Europe and North America! What countries were you visiting? How long were you gone? What are you bringing back with you? You know, I tried to fit that dead body from Canada in my suitcase, sir, but I just couldn’t cram him in, so really, just some wine and chocolate.

Next on our international travel list: an island, and we’re bringing the kids. Can’t wait to see what kind of questions they get hit with. I am sure of one thing, Corey can’t keep his mouth shut, and he will confess to everything. “I ate 20 hot dogs, I’m bringing an illegal piece of fruit with me, and my parents have a dead guy in their suitcase.”

At the end of the day, I am very glad that these people are doing their jobs and keeping world travelers safe. I do find a lot of humor in their differences, but I’m glad they’re present to stop the people who really are trying to bring in drugs, dead bodies. Or worse.

Think major league baseball is competitive? Try little league.


“It’s the bottom of the last inning, The Rays are up by two runs, and there are two outs. Can they hold on for the win? Here comes the pitch. And it’s strike one! Here comes the next pitch. Strike two! This kid is on fire! Here comes the next pitch and….it’s strike three! The Rays win it!”

That wasn’t the end of the last Oriole’s game against Tampa Bay. That was Corey’s second playoff game, the game his little league team, The Rays, played against the number one team in the league, the White Sox. At the end, Corey was the catcher, teamed up with a boy who is the best pitcher I’ve seen in this age bracket – he’s the closer, and together he and Corey make a lethal duo. The Rays were clearly the underdogs, but they played hard and never gave up. The win sent every parent and grandparent on the sidelines to their feet in a standing ovation, and almost all of us had tears in our eyes. The win sent our underdogs to the championship game.

When Corey was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia, his father’s first heartbroken words were “no sports.” He’d grown up playing baseball himself, and now we thought our firstborn son would have no chance to experience this part of growing up. If he lived at all. But in time we learned, from Corey’s pediatric cardiologists, that he could “self regulate.” So we tried soccer. Too much running. We tried t-ball, and he loved it. And he was good at it – right from the beginning. He’s smart, and he’s got great hand-eye coordination. It didn’t take long for him to decide that baseball was his sport.

That was six years ago. Once Corey switched from t-ball to baseball, that was the end of participation trophies. He hasn’t earned a trophy in years. Last night, at the championship game, he finally had a crack at being number one and bringing home that trophy. And oh, he wanted it. And we wanted it for him.

Our boys went into last night’s game against the number two team. Still the underdogs. Still with great attitudes. They stood up to the pressure, including all of their wild banshee screaming parents (ahem, guilty – I am THAT parent) endlessly cheering on the sidelines. We were all glued to our seats, calling out “good eye” and “good swing” and “nice hit” and “great pitch” and on and on and on. These kids are nine and ten years old, and they just went out there and did it.

But did they win? Or did they crush our dreams of victory and a shiny trophy for the mantel? That’s right I said “our dreams” – at the beginning of the season, we were losing left and right, and I wasn’t particularly invested in anything other than just a learning season. By last night I was all in – I wanted that trophy for my kid like a junky wants his next hit. I think the only person who wanted it more was Damian. All that sports intensity that just lives inside him came right out last night.

It all came down to the last inning once again. In little league, a maximum of five runs are allowed in any inning except the last inning, when a team may score unlimited runs in order to win the game. We were up 13-7, but they shut us down and stopped our boys from scoring even a single run in the last inning. We had to hold them, just like the previous game. Out came Corey as catcher and the closer to pitch.

I sat on the edge of my chair, bit my nails, and watched the umpire. They allowed one base hit. But no more. In no time flat, the closer struck out three kids and the crowd roared to its feet in a victory cheer! They did it! The boy with a half a heart played a banner game and helped his team to win the championship game. Did I mention that the trophy sure looks nice on our mantel? Nothing quite like the words “first place.”

And did I mention that Corey, along with two of his other teammates, made the all star team? Practice starts tonight…. One last thought – IN YOUR FACE, CHD!

Happy Fontanniversary, Corey!


Can’t find a chair? Just hop in the trunk.

This is Corey’s 6th Fontanniversary. We are 6 years post-op! And he’s 10 – how did that happen? It’s also my Grandma Anne’s 92nd birthday. My other grandmother, Fran, is about to reach her 93rd birthday next month. Damian’s Grandma Jeanne just hit 93. So basically I’m surrounded by a bunch of willful, stubborn people who just plan to keep right on living indefinitely. Corey came into the world that way – I guess he came by these traits honestly. I’m so glad he did.

How is the heart child doing 6 years after the Fontan? Kicking butt and taking names, that’s how. It’s baseball season, and he plays catcher on defense, a role he loves, because the catcher is involved in all the plays. And, just like everything else Corey does, he’s all-in or he’s not in at all. His speeds are “on” and “off” – nothing in between. This is absolutely inspiring and utterly exhausting.

In school, his grades are As and Bs. More As than Bs, and his Maryland State Assessment test scores for math were off the charts. He creamed everybody. In his school, in his county, even in his state. His dad’s got a master’s in math, though, and I used to tutor college algebra and calculus, so again – good genes. (See what I did there? I just tooted Damian’s horn, Corey’s horn, and my horn too. Toot toot!) Also, through school, he plays the violin, and he loves it. And he’s good at it.

There is no Rubik’s cube that Corey can’t solve!

Yes that statement requires its own paragraph. Let’s see, what else? Oh! We are teaching him to play poker – Texas Hold’em. The Easter Bunny picked him up a set of cards and chips – given his proclivity for math and his luck at cards (his Uncle Dave used to be a professional poker player, so clearly this is genetics again!), we think he could have a smashing good time at this. We plan to get some lessons from his uncle when we visit him in California this year.

Anyway, in summary, the kid has exceeded all our expectations. We hoped he’d be somewhere on the spectrum of normal and quasi-intelligent, but he’s turned out to be a brilliant little being. He’s my miracle. Today and always.

Goodbye Calypso


Tomorrow I will be making pancakes for breakfast. It’s Thursday. The boys get pancakes on Thursdays. The night before, I always set out the pancake mix, the bowl, the pan, and the cup of water I’ll need in the morning. As I was setting out the water tonight, my first thought was, “I better cover this glass so Calypso doesn’t jump up on the counter in the middle of the night and drink out of it.” And then I remembered that she can’t. She can’t because she’s gone now. She’ll never drink from one of our water glasses again, because this afternoon we took her to the vet and had her euthanized.

It happened so fast. Too fast. Just last week she was fierce. Full of personality. Purring, jumping on our laps, asking for tuna, running around the house, giving us all the love and attitude that she always has. But this week, everything changed.

I remember the moment that I met her. She was just one of a litter who needed a home. But the moment I walked into the house she lived in, I knew she was the one. She marched up to me with her itty bitty little self, looked up, said, “Mew,” with her tiny kitten voice, and that was it. I was in love with her. I picked her up, found that she was so small that she could lie in my hand as I petted her with two fingers. She came home with me that night, and she became my constant companion for almost the next 19 years.

And that is exactly what she’s been. My constant. So many people have walked into and out of my life. I’ve lived in so many different places. Had different cars. Changed jobs. Been married. Had children. Lived through surgeries, tragedies, holidays, ups downs lefts rights this that and the other thing – and through all of it, through every single step, there has been one constant. One tiny little being who has always been with me. And that was Calypso. She was my constant through half of my life on this earth.

That constant is gone now, and a part of my heart is gone too. I had no idea how much this would hurt. I haven’t felt anything like this since the days when we thought we might lose Corey.

I was with her when she died. Damian, Corey, and Mason were all in the room when the vet weighed her, found that she’d wasted to a mere 4 pounds, examined her, and said, “If this were my pet, I would let her go.” Damian and the boys said goodbye to her, and then they left me to see her through to the end. The vet gave her a powerful anesthetic, and in true Calypso fashion, she found one last spike of sass, whipped around and schwacked/hissed at the vet. The vet said, “Whoa! I didn’t expect her to be that fast.” I actually smiled, despite the situation, at that one last “back off!” that my sassy cat whipped out at the very end. Then Calypso turned to me, pressed her little face into my chest, and I stroked her fur, whispered that I loved her, and waited for the medication to take effect.

The final dose of heart-stopping medication was administered as she calmly rested on her side, the vet listened for her heartbeat, said, “Her heart has stopped, she’s gone, I’ll leave you alone for a few minutes.” She left, and I said my final goodbye. Calypso’s passing was peaceful, but it struck me, as I looked at her lying there on the table, that she was so thin, her fur was so knotty, she just looked so wasted and old, that we absolutely made the right decision. Her life was over. She’d refused food and drink for two days. She was done. It was a kindness to let her go.

But it hurts so much. I feel her absence. It’s amazing how quiet it is in our house now. How could a 5.5 pound being bring so much life to a house? So much energy? So much presence? But she did. She was a tiny little being who meant so much to me, to all four of us, and I will miss her every day.

Goodbye, my little Buddha. I love you so much. Be at peace.

The Heart Child is 10!

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And he turned 10 a month ago! And I have not written a single word since January! Which is very sad. Especially considering what a momentous occasion it was to celebrate an entire decade of Corey’s life. The child who has half a heart, who the perinatologist said would not reach his first birthday, has now blasted past 10 birthdays with his hair on fire. That child has more energy than an atomic bomb. He wakes up in the morning, his brain is instantly buzzing, and he is in action from that moment until the moment when his head hits the pillow at night. He gets As and Bs in school, he plays the violin, he is a reporter for his school newspaper, and he plays baseball. And he loves building Legos (like the Leaning Tower of Piza, above), solving Rubik’s cubes, and learning magic tricks.

He is a little miracle.

So why haven’t I written about this little miracle in so long? I blame the two-year-olds. You’re thinking, “Uh, what?” I’m teaching preschool. There are 30 two-year-olds in my life now. And they are wonderful, adorable, laugh-out-loud funny little beings who suck my energy out like a Hoover on steroids. I do love them, though. They just don’t leave much left in my tank for things like blogging.

Anyway, we did celebrate Corey’s big day like he was a rock star. We didn’t have one party. We had two parties. One was an evening event for adults and family members, and the other was an afternoon event at Corey’s favorite arcade – Crabtowne. The first event went off without a hitch. The second event, not so much. It snowed, which turns everybody here in Maryland into giant snow weenies (present company included), and nobody wants to drive anywhere. But! Of the four boys Corey invited to play pinball and old-fashioned Pac-Man, three of them braved the snow, accepted a roll of quarters from us, and played their hearts out for about two hours. In the end, Corey was happy. Other than that, who cares?

Corey is my miracle. And to CHD I would like to say, IN YOUR FACE!

Top 10 Most Disturbing Movie Scenes


Mom, don’t read this.

So, we are making our Oscar push right now, which means that we are attempting to see as many movies as possible with Oscar nominations. Not just best picture, but actor, short film, make-up – really whatever we can feasibly manage to see before the red carpet parade of stars. If my political research were this intense my voting strategies might be altered.

In any case, Oscar-nominated films often broach difficult, disturbing subjects. “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Schlindler’s List” (1993) come to mind. Slavery and the holocaust – pretty much the epitome of difficult and disturbing? They are the kinds of movies that should be made. The kind of movies that remind us of what we are capable of as a race of humans. What we have done to each other. What we will be doomed to do to each other again and again and again if we allow patterns in history to repeat themselves by embracing ignorance. But man, are they hard to watch! I watched “Schlindler’s List,” and there are moments from that movie that are forever burned into my brain. I could not bring myself to watch “12 Years a Slave.” I just couldn’t do it. I wimped out.

Recently we saw the controversial, and Oscar nominated, film “American Sniper” (2014). It was excellent. Riveting. Revolting. Incredible. Chris Kyle is an American Hero in my eyes. He “just wanted to get the bad guys.” And, as the “most lethal American sniper,” he certainly got a lot of bad guys. I’m glad I saw the film. And not because it was fun to watch Bradley Cooper parade around in uniform with his big guns blazing. Ahem.

Wait, what was I saying? I got distracted there for a moment. Oh yes! Right. Difficult and disturbing films.

During the course of my time as a film buff, and an Oscar buff, I have come across a lot of disturbing scenes in films. I’ve seen enough movies (even though I bailed on “12 Years a Slave”) to have compiled a list of seriously disturbing scenes. I thought I had my number 1 for all time, which could never be touched, until I saw “American Sniper.” And now it’s been usurped. Sadly. I’m sure there are many scenes that may trump these (or should be included), but I can only use my own cinematographic experience.

Here is my Top 10 List of Most Disturbing Movie Scenes

10. Regan, possessed by a demon, scene with the metal crucifix (expletives involved that I won’t repeat – if you’ve seen the movie, you know the scene), “The Exorcist,” 1973

9. The eyes of Alex are forcefully held open while he is subjected to endless scenes of brutal imagery, “A Clockwork Orange,” 1971

8. Bill confesses to his son that he’s drugged and raped two of his friends, who are children, “Happiness,” 1998

7. The head in a box, “Se7en,” 1995

6. Church explosion that kills four innocent young girls in their church, committed by white racists, “Selma,” 2014

5. Gang rape of Mrs. Alexander in “A Clockwork Orange,” 1971

4. Jewish children hide in the feces of a latrine to keep from being killed by Nazis, “Schlindler’s List,” 1993

3. Beating death of a man using a fire extinguisher to the face, “Irreversible,” 2002

2. Brutal 9-minute long rape/beating of Alex in “Irreversible,” 2002

1. Use of a power drill to torture and then murder a young boy by a terrorist known as The Butcher, “American Sniper,” 2014